Coalition Exhibitions

Families could learn Mall history while waiting for their baggage at Reagan Washington National Airport.

The National Mall, the stage for American democracy, belongs to all of us. But too many Americans don’t know much about the Mall’s historic and ongoing role in our country’s history and cultural life. Since our founding in 2000, the National Mall Coalition has endeavored to fill the gap in public understanding with hundreds of free public talks, and in a series of public exhibitions.

In the exhibitions we ask visitors to contemplate the benefits of comprehensive, visionary Mall planning by focusing attention on the bigger picture: How can we advance the brilliant visionary legacy of the 1791 L’Enfant and 1902 McMillan Plans into the 21st century so that the Mall can continue to tell the American story, support public activities and First Amendment events, and respond intelligently to environmental and other problems in order to create, for the benefit of future generations, a truly resilient Mall? Read some answers to these questions with our proposal — in 15 illustrated slides — for America’s 3rd Century Mall.

We have been creating public exhibitions to educate DC residents, architects and designers, government planners, and the broader public about the exciting possibilities for the future. Learn more below.

Watch a virtual tour of the entire 2017 exhibition at Reagan Washington National Airport here.

AIA and The Plan of the Nation’s Capital Public Exhibitions (2012)

In 2012 we consolidated much of our work on Mall history, problems, needs, and visionary ideas into two public exhibitions in Washington, DC, that focused on these themes: The need and exciting opportunities for creating a “3rd Century Mall” plan to update the 1791 L’Enfant Plan and 1902 McMillan Plan; and a call to the American Institute of Architects to take the lead, as they did in 1901 with the McMillan Commission, to champion and create the updated plan for the Mall.

AIA 1900 * 2012 trifold brochure

Download here the tri-fold one-page pamphlet telling the history of AIA’s crucial role in creating the McMillan Commission and Plan:  AIA 1900 * 2012



AIA 2012 National Convention Exhibition Booklet

Download the brochure for the exhibition at the May 17 – 19, 2012Annual Convention of the American Institute of Architects held in Washington, DC, here:  AIA and The Plan of the Nation’s Capital



AIA DC 2012 Exhibition Booklet

Download the brochure for the August 8 – September 15, 2012 exhibition at the District Architecture Center, “The 3rd Century Mall: Reinventing L’Enfant’s Legacy”:  The 3rd Century Mall: Reinventing L’Enfant’s Legacy


National Mall Underground Flood Reservoir/Parking Garage Exhibition (2013 – 2014)

The exhibition explain DC’s long history of devastating floods.
The poster for the National Mall Underground public exhibition 2013 – 2014
National Mall Coalition Board members Arthur Cotton Moore, architect of the National Mall Underground concept, Judy Scott Feldman, and Albert H. Small -–who donated the exhibition space – at the November 2013 opening of our exhibition in downtown DC.

From November 2013 through December 2014, the National Mall Coalition had a pop-up exhibit space in the heart of DC’s business district, at 18th Street and Connecticut Avenue. The exhibit explained to the hundreds of visitors who stopped in  the needs on the Mall for flood control, public parking, irrigation, Mall visitor center, and more. Visitors were able to explore precedents for underground parking in Amsterdam, Rome, Chicago, and elsewhere, and examine architect Arthur Cotton Moore’s various options for creating the National Mall Underground — a parking garage that can be used to take in stormwater flooding during flooding events.




The National Mall: Stage For Our Democracy Exhibitions (2017)

Ideas for the future include expanding the Mall’s boundaries and creating the National Mall Underground parking garage/flood reservoir facility.

In 2017 the National Mall Coalition stepped up our efforts to fill gaps in public appreciation of the Mall with two public exhibitions, one at Reagan Washington National Airport and the other at the Branch Museum of Architecture in Richmond.

The airport exhibit ran from January to June 2017 and was aimed at local DC residents arriving or departing the Washington area, and especially at the thousands of tourists and other visitors to the Mall. This exhibit was in place in time for the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2017. Read more here.

The Branch Museum exhibition told of devastating flooding in the capital for over 200 years.

The exhibit at the Branch Museum spoke to the architectural community and others about Mall history and problems such as flooding and other environmental threats. It included a Call to Action to the American Institute of Architects, urging AIA to take the lead in creating a new McMillan-type commission – the 1902 McMillan Commission created the last visionary plan for the Mall – to plan for the 21st century. Read more here.



Watch a virtual tour of the entire 2017 exhibition at Reagan Washington National Airport here.